Arcadia - Tom Stoppard - ''Although playing with many intellectual and philosophical concepts, Stoppard fails, ultimately to present his audience with any satisfying conclusions''

Essay by NickyGHigh School, 12th grade May 2009

download word file, 6 pages 4.0

Downloaded 21 times

Stoppard intentionally refrains from presenting satisfying conclusions as throughout the play he avoids preaching his opinion. Stoppard poses questions for consideration by the audience and providing them with a 'satisfying conclusion' would undermine the motives of the play, by providing a ready-made solution. In Peter Malin's Arcadia-inspired poem, Enlightenment, the first and last verses consist of questions. The poet's contemplation is the reaction Arcadia intentionally provokes.

Possibly the only real conclusion that can be drawn from the play is the inevitability that 'almost everything you thought you knew is wrong.' This point is made numerous times throughout and finally demonstrated when, finally, all themes are contradicted. For example the message that it is good to have a leisurely approach to life is challenged when it transpires that Hannah's studious nature has resulted in success in contrast to Bernard's complete failure. (However it can be argued that this is not a contradiction as 'leisure' takes all forms, in Hannah's case it is intellectual pursuit, as we can see through the awkward nature of her final dance.)This

point is reinforced by the fact that we see a reversal of ideas in both time periods. Both Romantic and Enlightenment ways of thinking are proved to be insufficient in their corresponding times. The constant revolution of mindsets highlights its inevitability, which can be epitomised by both Thomasina and her descendant Valentine.

They both engage in the opposite ways of thinking to their surroundings, Valentine being a scientific thinker in a household overrun by Romanticism and Thomasina being the opposite. Both characters seem to have a greater insight then their peers into problems despite their contrasting methods. Both characters contradicting the current mindsets, respective to each time, shows how all that is certain is uncertainty and 'the future is disorder'The theme of finding certainty...